Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Step back in Time

Yesterday we took a walk not just in another place but in another time. Would you like to come along with me now to see what I saw yesterday? I hope you will enjoy your visit here as much as I did!

First we'll stroll by the park.......

Where the portrait artist is at work - no it isn't Monsieur Monet but it looks a bit like him!

We can do a bit of window shopping

There's plenty to look at

We can walk on the shady side of the street, out of the midday sun

If it gets too warm we can take a ride to see the rest of the town - there's a lot more to see

in my next post!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Here are some of the things that have pleased me today

Fresh flowers from the garden

Pretty foxgloves seen on our morning's walk

At last! A goldfinch tries out our new nyger seed feeder

New cat on the block - don't know to whom it belongs to but it really likes pond dipping!

The first gooseberries - gooseberry crumble anyone?

Healthy courgettes growing in the raised beds - this means tasty courgette bake or ratatouille for lunch or tea!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Favourite Places

I've been mooching around in this warm weather; getting up early and getting jobs done before it gets too hot to do anything. Whilst the worker is marking exams on line - very tedious and soul destroying apparently - I've been thinking about the seaside and about some of my favourite places to visit. A couple of those places are Staithes and Saltburn-on-Sea on the North Yorkshire coast. I much prefer Saltburn and Staithes to Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay - not that I don't like those places too - I love climbing the 199 steps in Whitby to the Abbey on the cliff top and meandering down the little streets to the shore at Robin Hood's Bay - but I think it is because they are less crowded, less commercial and still have the feel of what they were originally - a fishing port in the case of Staithes and a purpose built seaside town in the case of Saltburn. We have a print of Staithes on the wall close to the computer and I've just been looking out some photographs to share with you. Below is a little novella set in Whitby - I quite enjoyed it but not entirely my cup of tea - a bit spooky perhaps - but then that fits in with Whitby!

We last visited both places during a rainy August in 2004 so it is high time for another visit. Here are some photos of Saltburn taken then - I'm sure it won't have changed too much; a different shop or two perhaps!

The headland and pier

Down on the beach

there is a lift down to the sea front

The pier from the upper town.

Saltburn Town Centre - I've just been looking at the clock - we must have taken this photo at ten minutes to eleven on Wednesday 11th August 2004!

Small print of Staithes from a painting by David Curtis, R.S.M.A., R.O.I (link) - I gaze at this scene often whilst I'm day dreaming! Below is our photo of a similar view - you can see how murky and wet it was.

Amongst the photos on my sidebar is one taken on the harbour at Staithes of the Crab and Lobster Inn.

Staithes has historic connections with Captain James Cook (link) which I find fascinating.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Morning Stroll

Yesterday we were going to visit my sister and brother-in-law at Chesterfield. As we seem to be waking up earlier and earlier on these light and birdsong filled mornings we set off quite early on our journey. We drove out of the city towards Cellarhead, Froghall,Ipstones and through Hartington, Monyash and Bakewell finally parking at Baslow. At nine-thirty in the morning there was just us plus a few ladies all locking their cars and heading to the village hall with rolled mats and blankets under their arms. A yoga class perhaps?

We headed towards the entrance to Chatsworth park. The weather was a little grey and quite cool with just a glimmer of sun now and again. Just right for walking though. The stone cottages were looking particularly lovely in the early morning light; their gardens full of pretty flowers and roses or clematis around their doors.

I love these little thatched cottages at the side of the river.

As we ventured along the path towards Chatsworth House there was a sudden rush of newly shorn sheep - hundreds of them all careering towards us in a long line then suddenly veering off across the grass towards the top corner of the estate.

They viewed us with a slight interest but seemed intent on moving on as quickly as possible.

We could see the house in the distance. It was now 10a.m. and cars and coaches were beginning to arrive at the entrance all, I expect, anticipating a wonderful day out.

We spotted this lovely seat where we could sit and drink the morning coffee we had brought with us in a flask. I must admit it was cool enough to feel ready for its warmth.

Another look at the house - it looks as if there is some repair or conservation work going on - I imagine that there is always something to be done either inside or outside a never ending upkeep on such a wonderful huge building.

We were intrigued by this smaller building known as Queen Mary's bower. Apparently during the mid to late 16th century when Sir William Cavendish and his wife Bess of Hardwick were having the first house built a water garden was made between the house and the river containing a number of ponds and canals. The bower is thought to have been a viewing platform so that people could view both the house and the grounds. The balustrade was added in 1581 and it is said that it might have been used as a contained exercise area for the captive Mary, Queen of Scots who was held five times at Chatsworth from 1570 to 1581., hence its modern name. In the 18th century the water garden was filled in and the present park created by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown.

The view from the top along the river was amazing!

It was time to return to the car and make our way out of Baslow and up by the Robin Hood Inn towards Cutthorpe and on to Chesterfield. We had a lovely visit; after lunch at the garden centre, a good natter and look around, hanging baskets were purchased and put in place, it was soon time to head towards home returning along the same route we had taken earlier in the morning.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I thought that this year it would be great fun to grow our own pumpkin for Halloween. We bought a packet of seeds and sowed a few of them. We have had two or three plants grow from the seed.

This one was recently planted in the raised bed, behind the lupins, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we will have a pumpkin ready for October!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Make Your Nature Count

This week I took part in the RSPB's 'Make Your Nature Count' survey. As with the 'Great Big Garden Watch' earlier in the year participants are asked to record what birds they see during a chosen hour in either their garden, park or other outdoor space. We were also asked to report on any mammals that visited the garden - even if you don't see them they leave evidence behind. The RSPB asked for people to tell them what 'sings, chirrups, snuffles and barks in your garden.'

I sat on the seat at the top of the garden and in an hour was lucky enough to see two goldfinch, two greenfinch, six sparrows, two blackbirds, two thrush, two collard doves, two wood pigeons, one robin and one blue tit. I was also able to report on evidence of visits by fox, badger and hedgehog.

The survey also asked about cats - we have loads of those in our garden everyday.

During the hour I also saw six frogs in the pond and a grey squirrel but the survey didn't want information on any of those. A couple of days later we saw a little fox!

It is lovely to have the thrushes back in the garden and also the finches. Encouraged this week by seeing the goldfinches everyday we've bought some nyger seed and set up a little pot on a stick in the flower bed where we often see the goldfinches to encourage them to keep visiting - I don't think they have found it yet!

There is still time to join in the survey if you would like to - click on the logo above to find the information on how to participate.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Scenes from a Lakeside Walk

We finally managed to get out of the house yesterday morning to take a walk by the lakeside at Trentham.

The morning was cool, overcast and slightly misty - just right for taking photographs!

The rhododendrons on the heronry island looked lovely against the water.

The beautiful flag iris were blooming all around the lakeside.

We spent ages strolling and gazing at the views glad to be out and about and feeling a bit better.

We walked all round the lake stopping for coffee at the Lakeside cafe on the way.

Then we walked around the gardens which had burst into life since our last visit.

Lovely planting showing different colours and textures.

Abandoned deck chairs

Gorgeous trees

and pretty flowers!

Back home to work in the garden until late afternoon when, just as we were about to cook something to eat, we had a power cut which affected the whole of our area and the villages out to the east and south of us and lasted until about 8 o'clock so it wasn't until about 10p.m. that we heard the awful news from Cumbria - my thoughts are with all those affected today.